As it is the start of Pride Month, I feel it is appropriate to post these thoughts that have been going around in my head. This all got started last week when I answered a question on Quora about whether trans rights would be the downfall of America, and the ensuing questions and answers that arose therefrom. It made me realize the level of misinformation that is out there, and the stunning ignorance that results from people not listening and thinking. So I’d like to do my part to clarify things, at least from my understanding as a cismale person.
First, there are three distinct things out there that are seemingly being conflated by those on the “anti-Woke” (henceforth !W) crowd:
- Transgender. This is the condition when the physical body that one has is not congruent with the gender identity in the mind. It is something that is really hard for most of us to think about — after all, we never think about our gender as something different than what our sex organs are. But there are those who have that condition. When they do, they have a range of options, from hiding their identity (bad idea), to expressing their identity in various ways. They can simply dress and adopt the lifestyle of the gender they seem themselves as. They can go on the appropriate hormones. They can avail themselves of various surgical options. All of these things require psychological counseling and multiple years; surgery in particular requires years of living as the other gender before it is even considered. Many trans folks don’t have surgery. It is important to note that individuals under 18 DO NOT have irreversible surgery, unless some significant medical reason requires it. Before age 18, puberty blockers are used to delay puberty (there are rare side effects), and in later adulthood, hormone therapy may be used (the “at birth” gender reasserts itself if those hormones are stopped). In other words: Nothing irreversible is done before age 18. It is also important to note that suicide is very common for people suffering from this dysmorphia, and the impacts of the medicines are much better than suicide. It is also important to note that trans is independent of sexuality and sexual desire. Lastly, note that the percentage of folks that are trans is very very small, when compared to the overall population.
- Drag Queens. Drag is just another form of cosplay, and drag queens are just actors inhabiting a persona. Drag has been around for a long time. In Shakespeare’s time, all “women” actors were played by men. We had folks like Milton Berle in the 1950s and 1960s, there was Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the 1950s, there were TV kid show hosts; there was Flip Wilson and Bob Hope; and of course, there was Mrs. Doubtfire. This is just acting. It is not recruiting kids, and it is not sexual. KIds just like playing around, putting on costumes, and pretending to be other people and using their imaginations. Nothing about sex at all. They like watching people in costume. The important thing here is that drag is for entertainment.
- Cross-dresser. A term for people who dress in clothing traditionally or stereotypically worn by the other sex, but who generally have no intent to live full-time as the other gender. Some of these folks do get sexual pleasure from doing this, but not all. Again, these folks don’t recruit, but do it for their own pleasure.
Different things. None of them recruiting kids.
It is also useful to understand life is rarely binary, and there aren’t simple dimensions in this area. Sex isn’t XX or XY; genetically there is a wide range between the gender (see this article). Gender is a societal construct that changes over time, and it is also a spectrum from male to female to ambiguous areas in-between. There are also dimensions that are spectrums with respect to romantic attraction and sexual attraction (not always the same). And, of course, there are folks who just want to have no part of any of this, and just to live their own life on their terms. We should not be judging on this. As the Skittles ad says: Enjoy the rainbow.
So, the next question is: Should there be laws limiting this stuff? The answer here is a resounding “No”. Such laws are un-American, where the Constitution explicitly permits freedom of expression. Gender is a form of expression. Simple as that.
You say your religion is against it? Then don’t do it yourself. But don’t use your religion as a cudgel to force other people to agree with your religious views. That is also un-American, where there is freedom of religion.
What about bathrooms you say? A few points here:
- If you were in a ladies room, and saw someone dressed as a guy walk in, you would be upset. Similarly, if you were in a men’s room and saw a woman walk in. So the rule should be simple: Go into the restroom that matches your gender expression.
- The notion of genital inspection to enforce restroom usage is just plain stupid. If the government does it, it goes against the 4th amendment: unreasonable search. If a person does it, it is essentially sexual assault.
- But what about exposed genitals in the restroom. I don’t know where you go, but I don’t see them except at the trough pissers at a baseball game. Go into a private stall, mind your business, do your business, and wash your hands.
- But what about bathroom assaults? I have yet to see a pattern of proven incidents involving transgendered, drag queens, or cross-dressers. The one report I did see was someone where the victim had a previous sexual relationship with the attacker, and invited them into the restroom. Restrooms attacks are more often done by the angry entitled men who have a negative view of women. That’s a different problem, and one that needs to be addressed. Similarly, sexual attacks on children are often from those in a position of power, not from people already marginalized. Again, we need to address that (and note that the folks riling you up against the marginalized folks are those same folks in a position of power, who want to keep that power).
- What about shared and open showers? That’s a bit of a harder question, for you want to respect others as well. Such rooms typically have a private area for those who need it (it’s not just trans or different gender-presenting folks). Use that private space; but it may mean waiting until you get home (or turning away out of view). You might need to talk to the management. But remember: It is as much a concern for the person being seen as the person doing the seeing.
What about sport teams, you say:
- Personally, I think we should get rid of gendered colligate and professional teams, and go to weight and strength based classes, independent of gender. That’s a fair and equitable solution.
- Otherwise, at the College and Professional Level, there should be a requirement to have been on the appropriate hormone for a significant period (which weakens or strengthens muscle mass), with private changing areas. This does actually tend to be quite rare.
- For kids? We shouldn’t have the gender distinction. Just provide the appropriate changing areas, and let the kids have fun playing together.
It boils down to this: Treat people as you would like to be treated: with respect. Call them what they want to be called. Treat them as the gender they present as. Don’t judge, lest ye be judged.
Oh, and let the drag queen read to your kids. They’ll probably enjoy the story, and maybe will learn a very important lesson from the drag queen: reading is a lot of fun.
What? You were thinking they would learn something else?
P.S.: If you note, the concern seems to only be with men presenting as female, never the other way around. Ask yourself why that is. Does it say something about men? Does it say something about what these men are afraid of, or how they view men who want to be woman? What does that say about how they view women? Quite telling.